NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2020

Remembering Henri Richard, the Jets move into a wild-card berth and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Henri Richard, who won a record-setting 11 Stanley Cups as a player during his 20-year career with the Montreal Canadiens, died yesterday at age 84 of Alzheimer’s disease. The younger brother of Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Henri carved out his Hall-of-Fame career as a skilled two-way center. A 10-time All-Star, Richard captained the Canadiens from 1971-72 to 1974-75, won the Masterton Trophy in 1974, and was voted one of the NHL’s 100 greatest players in 2017. He also played a franchise-record 1,258 games with the Canadiens and finished third all-time among Habs scorers with 1,046 points.

Henri Richard was one of the Montreal Canadiens’ greatest players (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m old enough to recall seeing Richard play with the Canadiens whenever they appeared on Hockey Night in Canada in the early-70s. With his grey hair, the Pocket Rocket looked so old to my very young eyes back then, but he impressed me with his skating and puck-moving skills. Richard was the quintessential two-way center and one of the Canadiens’ all-time greats. Had the Selke Trophy existed during his playing career, he would’ve won it multiple times. My sincere condolences to his family, friends, and former teammates.


Connor Hellebuyck turned in a 29-save shutout as the Winnipeg Jets (76 points) blanked the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0 to move into the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist. The Golden Knights (82 points) remain two ahead of the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division.

Matthew Tkachuk collected three assists in the Calgary Flames 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. With the win, the Flames (79 points) to within one point of the second-place Oilers in the Pacific. Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes, who slip two points behind the Jets.

Zack McEwen tallied twice while J.T. Miller and Antoine Roussel each had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks trounced the Colorado Avalanche 6-3, snapping a four-game losing skid. With 76 points, the Canucks hold the first wild-card berth with two games in hand over the Jets.

Make it three straight losses for the Toronto Maple Leafs in California as they fell 2-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. John Gibson made 26 saves for the Ducks before leaving midway through the third with an undisclosed injury. Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci returned to the lineup after being sidelined for a month. With 79 points, the Leafs still hold a playoff spot, sitting third in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If it wasn’t for the inept Florida Panthers, the Leafs would be in real danger of falling out of a playoff spot. Maybe the knowledge that the stumbling Panthers probably can’t catch them explains the Leafs’ lifeless effort in California.

The New Jersey Devils upset the St. Louis Blues 4-2, snapping the latter’s eight-game winning streak. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider kicked out 31 shots. The Blues (90 points) hold a two-point lead over the Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference standings.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier turned aside 32 shots in a 2-1 upset of the Chicago Blackhawks. Tyler Bertuzzi and Robby Fabbri scored for the Wings, while Patrick Kane replied for the Blackhawks (70 points), who failed to gain ground in the playoff race, sitting six points out of a wild-card spot in the West.


NBC SPORTS: Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov won’t face supplemental discipline for elbowing Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo on Thursday night.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed forward Josh Archibald to a two-year extension worth $1.5 million annually.

THE SCORE: The NHL is urging its players to limit contact with fans due to the coronavirus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good idea. Too bad the league doesn’t make a similar plea every year during flu season.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues signed a five-year affiliating agreement that starts next season with the AHL’s Springfield Thunderbirds.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2019

Game recaps, players and rookie of the month, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his league-leading seventh shutout in a 3-0 blanking of the Anaheim Ducks. William Karlsson, Alex Tuch, and Cody Eakin were the goal scorers, spoiling Ducks goaltender John Gibson’s return after missing three weeks with an upper-body injury. 

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his league-leading seventh shutout on Friday (Photo via NHL Images).

The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their 13th victory in their last 17 games by downing the St. Louis Blues 5-2. Sebastian Aho, Nino Niederreiter, Teuvo Teravainen, Justin Faulk, and Brett Pesce each collected two points.

Following the game, the Hurricanes’ “Storm Surge” celebration featured former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield “knocking out” Jordan Martinook. The Canes (76 points) sit third in the Metropolitan Division, one ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Alex Ovechkin’s 45th goal of the season also proved the game-winner as the Washington Capitals beat the New York Islanders 3-1. The Capitals (81 points) move into a tie with the Islanders, who hold first place in the Metropolitan Division. 

Conor Sheary scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Buffalo Sabres edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied his 439th career goal, tying Jaromir Jagr for second place on the Penguins all-time goal-scoring list. With the win, the Sabres (68 points) sit seven points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference while the Penguins (75 points) sit just outside the wild-card window.

Travis Konecny and James van Riemsdyk each scored twice to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Flyers (70 points) sit five points out of a playoff spot and also set an NHL record by using their eighth goaltender in a season as Cam Talbot made 30 saves for the win. 

Joel Armia netted a hat trick and Carey Price made 28 saves as the Montreal Canadiens doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2. With 77 points, the Canadiens hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot. 

Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, and Kevin Hayes each tallied two points to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators. The Jets (80 points) reclaim the top spot in the Central Division, one point up on the Predators. 

Marcus Sorenson scored two goals as the San Jose Sharks held off the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog collected three assists as his club sits just outside the Western Conference wild-card berth with 68 points. 

It was a good month for right-wing forwards as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov, Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane, and the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko are the NHL’s stars of the month for February 2019

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington is the NHL’s rookie of the month for February 2010. He posted a record of 10 wins and one loss, with a 1.44 goals-against average and four shutouts. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Binnington is the main reason why the Blues rose from being near the bottom of the NHL standings when the calendar flipped to 2019 into a playoff spot in the Central Division. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes center Derek Stepan will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a knee injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Coyotes jockeying for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, losing Stepan could be a serious setback to their postseason hopes. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2019

Game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes picked up their eighth straight win over the Buffalo Sabres in a 6-5 overtime victory. Teuvo Teravainen scored twice including the game-winner. It was a heartbreaking defeat for the Sabres, who had overcome a 5-3 deficit to force the extra frame. Jeff Skinner also scored two goals while Sam Reinhart called out his goaltenders. “We need more from our goalies and we need it from the start of hockey games. It’s frustrating.”

Mike Matheson’s overtime goal lifted the Florida Panthers over the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tied Mario Lemieux for the most games played (915) in franchise history. 

Josh Bailey scored the only goal in the shootout as the New York Islanders edged the New Jersey Devils 2-1. The Isles (68 points) hold a two-point lead over the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division. 

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov scored the OT winner in a 4-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of the Capitals, they blew a 3-1 lead but Evgeny Kuznetsov’s overtime goal enabled them to squeak past the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. It was Kuznetsov’s second goal of the game. The Avs (53 points) have dropped 15 of their last 18 contests and sit two points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference

Tyler Toffoli’s shootout goal gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, snapping the latter’s eight-game winning streak. Veteran defenseman Dion Phaneuf was a healthy scratch

Jonathan Drouin and Phillip Danault each had four-point performances as the Montreal Canadiens dominated the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. It was the Canadiens’ eighth win in their last 10 games and moved them within one point of the Toronto Maple Leafs (69 points) for second in the Atlantic Division. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 48 saves in a losing cause while coach Paul Maurice called his club’s performance “horseshit.” 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gotta love Maurice’s blunt assessment. Not to take anything away from the Canadiens’ well-deserved victory but the Jets certainly weren’t at their best in this contest. 

Anders Nilsson 45-save shutout carried the Ottawa Senators to a 4-0 victory over the floundering Anaheim Ducks, who’ve dropped six straight games and 18 of their last 20. Ducks goaltender John Gibson was pulled from the game following the second period as a precautionary measure following a collision with teammate Jaycob Megna.

Jonathan Marchessault scored two goals and Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 36 shots to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. 

The St. Louis Blues continued their climb in the Western Conference standings by blanking the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0. Brayden Schenn scored the only goal and Jordan Binnington made 32 stops for the Blues (55 points), who vaulted into the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago, the Blues were wallowing near the bottom of the conference and most observers expected them to be sellers by the trade deadline. There’s no more talk of selling now. 

Speaking of teams rising from the dead in the standings, the Chicago Blackhawks picked up their sixth consecutive victory and moved to within two points of a wild-card spot by nipping the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 on an overtime goal by Jonathan Toews. The Canucks (55 points) sit just behind the Blues in the wild-card race. Earlier in the day, the Canucks revealed goalie Thatcher Demko would miss seven-to-10 days with a slight sprain. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt we’ll hear any more talk about the Blackhawks approaching Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook about waiving their no-movement clauses. 

The Nashville Predators ended the Dallas Stars’ five-game win streak with a 3-2 overtime victory. Ryan Johansen tallied the winner for the Predators, who activated center Kyle Turris off injured reserve. 

The Edmonton Oilers kept their playoffs hopes alive by downing the Minnesota Wild 4-1 to snap a seven-game winless skid. The Oilers (53 points) sit two points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. Following the game, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau lamented his slumping club’s poor performance. “There’s some guys there that just are a shell of the players that I’ve known for two-and-a-half years,” he said. 

San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 36 saves in a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl each scored twice and picked up an assist. 

The Columbus Blue Jackets doubled up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2018

Game recaps, Stars CEO rips Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, Dustin Byfuglien, and David Backes fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Mitch Marner had a goal and two assists and John Tavares scored twice to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It’s the Leafs fifth consecutive victory. 

Mathew Barzal scored twice in the New York Islanders 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).

The New York Islanders tallied five unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Ottawa Senators 6-3. Mathew Barzal scored two of those tallies and collected an assist on Josh Bailey’s goal in the first period. The Isles overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits against the Senators, who lost high-scoring defenseman Thomas Chabot in the second period with an upper-body injury following a high hit from Isles winger Matt Martin. Chabot joins goaltender Craig Anderson and defenseman Justin Falk on the sidelines this weekend. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was a good example of how much the Senators miss Anderson between the pipes. No word if Martin will face supplemental discipline for the hit on Chabot.

Three third-period goals by Tomas Tatar, Artturi Lehkonen, and Jonathan Drouin gave the Montreal Canadiens a 5-3 win over the Florida Panthers. Backup Antti Niemi made 23 saves filling in for the sidelined Carey Price, who’s currently listed as day-to-day with what coach Claude Julien called an “irritation” that’s plagued the former Vezina Trophy winner for several weeks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Would that be irritation from his knee injury of 2015-16 or irritation from last season’s groin injury, Claude? Or is it something new? Whatever it is, Habs fans will be hoping Price makes a swift recovery. 

THE ATHLETIC: Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites had some choice words regarding the play of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, who said team owner Tom Gaglardi isn’t pleased with the performance of the club’s two best players. “He’s pissed,” Lites said on Friday afternoon. “And you know what it’s about.”

Referring to the pair’s performance during the Stars’ 2-0 win on Thursday over the Nashville Predators, Lites didn’t mince words. “They are fucking horse-shit, I don’t know how else to put it,” Lites said. “The team was ok. But (Tyler) Seguin and (Jamie) Benn were terrible.”

“We are a stars-driven league, and our stars aren’t getting it done,” Lites said. “It’s embarrassing, and no one writes it. Write it!”

Lites went on to criticize Benn and Seguin over what he considers their lack of accountability and decline of their performance since inking lucrative long-term contracts. Benn has the third-highest salary ($13 million) among NHL players this season, while Seguin’s new eight-year, $78.8-million contract kicks in next season. 

“I don’t give a fuck. I’m a year-to-year guy and I’ll be damned if a guy who has been as good to me as Tom Gaglardi — as good to this franchise — isn’t getting results, and those players aren’t getting it done. I’m telling you, we are gonna run through a GM who does everything he can to make the team better because we aren’t getting results.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I may be allowed my own expletive-laden reaction, it would be, “What the fucking fuck was that shit?” I mean, there’s calling out your best players and then there’s throwing them under the bus. Indeed, Lites didn’t just throw Benn and Seguin under the bus, he personally drove that bus over them, backed up, and drove over them again for good measure.

All of this is the result of growing frustration within the organization over the club’s sub-par performance this season. They were expected to not just contend for a playoff berth but also challenge for top spot in the Western Conference. Instead, they’re barely clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Conference.

As you can imagine, Lites’ rant caused jaws to collectively hit the floor among observers around the league. I’ll have more on what this might mean for the Stars going forward later today in the Rumor section. 

TSN: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was fined $2,500.00 for slashing Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau late in the third period of the Jets 4-1 loss to the Flames on Thursday. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins forward David Backes received a three-game suspension for a high hit on New Jersey Devils forward Blake Coleman on Thursday. Speaking of the Bruins, defenseman Charlie McAvoy is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury while winger Brad Marchand (upper body) will miss tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. 

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson is listed as day-to-day following an upper-body injury suffered during Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks. 

NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen is day-to-day with an upper-body injury after crashing into the boards during Thursday’s 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers winger Alex Chiasson is on injured reserve.

SPORTSNET: Oilers forward Valentin Zykov and Ducks defenseman Jake Dotchin were placed on waivers yesterday. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Roberto Luongo, James van Riemsdyk, Steve Mason and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews tallied a hat trick, including the game-tying and winning goals, to lead his club to a 5-4 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues.  Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for the Blues.

Jonathan Toews’ hat trick led the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-4 OT win over the St. Louis Blues. (Photo via NHL Images)

Tyler Seguin scored twice and set up two others as the Dallas Stars drubbed the Winnipeg Jets 5-1. Stars captain Jamie Benn also scored twice and collected an assist while Alex Radulov enjoyed a three-point night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Games like this one will make Seguin’s new eight-year, $78.8-million contract starting next season worthwhile for the Stars. 

The Florida Panthers fell 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout. Starting goaltender Roberto Luongo left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury after teammate Frankie Vatrano fell on Luongo’s right leg during a goalmouth scramble. “I don’t know how serious (the injury is)”, said Panthers coach Bob Boughner. “Hopefully, that’s not going to be a long-term thing. They’re going to reassess it and I’ll know more tomorrow.”

Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Giordano and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames downed the Vancouver Canucks 7-4. Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson scored twice and set up another, giving him five points in his first two NHL contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson has the makings of the Canucks’ next big Swedish star, following in the footsteps of Markus Naslund and the Sedin twins. 

Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac each scored twice to give the New Jersey Devils a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers at the 2018 NHL Global Series in Gothenburg, Sweden. Earlier in the day, the Oilers activated defenseman Kris Russell from injured reserved and sent Ethan Bear to their AHL affiliate. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One game does not a season make, but the Oilers’ season opener looked pretty much like most of their games in 2017-18. Goaltender Cam Talbot was shaky while their defense struggled against the Devils’ aggressive forechecking. 

Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron scored two goals and an assist while Carey Price kicked out 21 shots in a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sophomore defenseman Thomas Chabot scored twice and added an assist while goalie Craig Anderson made 34 stops as the Ottawa Senators upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thanks to a combination of speed, promising youngsters and solid veteran goaltender, the rebuilding Canadiens and Senators look surprisingly good thus far. The playoffs still remain a long shot for both clubs and there’s still a long season ahead of them, but they’re serving early notice they won’t be pushovers.

Colin Wilson scored twice and Semyon Varlamov turned aside 35 shots to give the Colorado Avalanche a 5-2 over the Philadelphia Flyers, who also lost winger James van Riemsdyk in the first period to a lower-body injury. “I don’t know the extent of it, so we’ve got to wait until we get back,” said Flyers coach Dave Hasktol. “We’re at the end of a long trip here, so we’ll get home and figure out where everything is at.”

The Nashville Predators edged the New York Islanders 4-3 thanks to two goals from winger Viktor Arvidsson. Martin Barzal had a goal and an assist for the Isles.

John Gibson turned in a 41-save shutout performance and Max Comtois netted the only goal to give the Anaheim Ducks a 1-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton made 43 saves backstopping his team to a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers. Winger Conor Sheary scored twice for the Sabres.

Max Pacioretty’s game-tying goal set the stage for Erik Haula’s shootout winner as the Vegas Golden Knights nipped the Minnesota Wild 2-1.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports veteran NHL goaltender Steve Mason might be ready to retire. He’s dealt with several injuries (concussion, knee) in recent years and recently turned down a contract from an NHL club seeking a backup netminder. 

Former NHL winger Daniel Winnik signed a one-year contract with Swiss club Geneva-Servette.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2018

Ducks re-sign John Gibson, Golden Knights avoid arbitration with William Karlsson. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks had a lovely wedding gift for goaltender John Gibson on Saturday as he signed an eight-year contract, $51.2-million contract extension. The deal, which begins in 2019-20, carries an annual average value of $6.4 million. Cap Friendly indicates it also comes with a modified no-trade clause from 2021-22 through 2026-27. This deal will also make him the league’s fifth-highest paid goalie.

Anaheim Ducks re-sign goaltender John Gibson to an eight-year extension. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Ducks general manager Bob Murray said he and everyone in the Ducks’ organization believes in Gibson, who has a career record of 99 wins, 55 losses and 20 overtime losses, with a 2.29 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage with 16 shutouts.

While Murray points out the 25-year-old netminder is entering his prime, he’s also been hampered by injuries and his playoff stats (11-13 in 26 playoff appearances, a 2.80 GAA and .912 SP) aren’t as impressive as his regular-season numbers. If Gibson can avoid serious injury and can improve his postseason numbers over the course of his deal, it’ll be considered a wise investment by Murray. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights avoided salary arbitration with center William Karlsson by signing him to a one-year, $5.25-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A worthwhile agreement for both sides. Karlsson, the final player slated for an arbitration hearing this summer,  gets a hefty pay raise over last season’s $1 million salary after tallying a career-best 43 goals. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights aren’t on the hook for very long if he fails to replicate that remarkable performance.

Basically, this is a “show-me” contract. Karlsson will once again be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. If he proves he’s no one-year wonder in 2018-19, he’ll be in line for a lucrative long-term deal.

LIGHTHOUSE HOCKEY: Former New York Islanders forward Shane Prince has signed with HC Davos in Switzerland. 

THE STAR: Hockey analytics guru Rob Vollman says NHL teams still aren’t as invested in advanced stats. “I have had many, many discussions with many teams trying to persuade them to build an analytics department,” Vollman said. “It’s a tough battle.” The Toronto Maple Leafs are among the few clubs to have one. Vollman has published a book titled “Stat Shot: A Fan’s Guide to Hockey Analytics.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Overall, the NHL tends to approach new ideas with skepticism. It has a conservative mindset that is largely resistant to change. It’ll likely take a couple of teams with analytic departments like those suggested by Vollman to achieve significant on-ice success before other clubs begin emulating them.